The Southern Poverty Law Center Embarrasses Itself

This piece was authored by Austin Henshaw.

On October 25, 2016 the Southern Poverty Law Center included Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali as part of their “Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists”.

In a piece in The Daily Beast, Maajid questions his inclusion on the list “I am a brown, liberal, reform Muslim. I have survived violent neo-Nazi racism and served as a former War on Terror political prisoner in Egypt, witnessing torture. Yet, in a trip that takes us through the looking glass, the largely white American non-Muslim “progressive” leadership at the pro-civil liberties group Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC) has just published a “journalist’s field list” naming me as an “anti-Muslim” extremist.”

Maajid himself is a former member of the Islamist group Hiz ut-Tahrir, having a change of heart after studying civil rights and interacting with Amnesty International, an experience he goes into more detail in his book Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism. He is co-founder of the Quilliam Foundation, the first counter-extremism think tank dedicated to “addressing the unique challenges of citizenship, identity, and belonging in a globalized world. Quilliam stands for religious freedom, equality, human rights and democracy.

Maajid frequently speaks on topics related to foreign affairs, Islamic extremism, and is very critical of what he deems as the “Ctrl-Left” on the digital radio show “Leading Britain’s Conversation”. Apparently sharing a “blasphemous” drawing of Muhammad was part of his consideration for being put on the list. You know, what several Charlie Hebdo cartoonists died for two years ago.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a former Dutch politician, now activist and author of several books including Infidel, Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations, and The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam. Suffering Islamic indoctrination for years where she was actively taught to hate Jews, that it was haram to wear clothing that might tempt other men and ultimately insult Allah, being forced to undergo female genital mutilation, and going through the assassination of her friend Theo Van Gogh (a list pinned to his corpse with a knife included her name on it) after collaborating with him on the short film Submission, a film that criticizes the treatment of women in Islamic society, it’s little wonder why she might be slightly critical of Islam.

Ayaan currently runs the AHA Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission statement is “The AHA Foundation works to protect and reinforce the basic rights and freedoms of women and girls, including security and control of their own bodies, access to an education, the ability to work outside the home and control their own income, freedom of expression and association, and the myriad other basic civil rights defined under the laws of Western democracies and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Foundation is opposed to the adoption of dual legal systems to adjudicate family disputes in religious families and supports the separation of all religions and the State.” She frequently speaks out on issues related to female genital mutilation, Islamic extremism, and freedom of speech. She is a fierce critic of much of Western feminism’s refusal to criticize or confront the oppression of women in many Muslim countries.

If the Southern Poverty Law Center really is dedicated to “fighting hate and bigotry” as it claims, it would support the work of Maajid and Ayaan who fight against legitimate oppression, much to their own personal detriment. Together they’ve fought for the rights of women, atheists, ex-Muslims, LGBT individuals, and other minorities in oppressive cultures. At this time a petition on has over 11,000 signatures to remove them both from their McCarthyist list. Maajid has also been receiving several crowdfunding offers to sue the SPLC for defamation, something I would highly sup

One can only wonder if we’ll reach the day that the SPLC adds themselves to their list of hate crimes.


  1. “…at the pro-civil liberties group Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC)”

    I reject that portrayal of them. Perhaps they were when they started, but for as long as I’ve watched them they’ve basically been more interested in viewpoint censorship than anything. Granted some of the viewpoints were pretty vile… though I still don’t support censorship, but many they simply disagree with as “Progressives.”


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